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Gunparade March is a Japanese video game later adapted to a three-volume manga and Twelve Episode Anime of the same name.The video game, Koukidou Gensou Gun Parade March, was released on September 28, 2000, for the PlayStation. Developed by Alfa System and Sony Computer Entertainment, the game won the Seiun Award in 2001 for creativity and innovation. A related game, Gunparade Orchestra, is currently in development by Alfa System.The manga by Hiroyuki Sanadura was serialized in the magazine Dengeki Daioh-. The three volumes published by Media Works between 2001 and 2003 were translated into English by ADV Manga between 2004 and 2005.
The anime, Gunparade March: The New March, which was produced by J.C.Staff, was broadcast on MBS from February 6 to April 23, 2003. It is licensed for distribution in the United States by Media Blasters as simply "Gunparade March".The plots of all adaptations are similar, involving an Alternate Timeline wherein World War II was abruptly ended when an alien race appeared on Earth and began to slaughter the human population. This alien force, known as the "Phantom Beasts" and "Genjyu", have effectively taken over more than half of the Earth by 1999 where the story takes place. To combat the aliens, humans developed Humanoid Walking Tanks (HWTs) but with high death rates, the Japanese government enforced a student draft which recruited high school students to become HWT pilots. Gunparade March follows the lives of the 5121st Platoon, which consists mainly of drafted high school students, including the main characters, Atsushi Hayami and Mai Shibamura.
Gunparade March provides examples of:
The Ace: Mai, who's fairly smart and skilled with HWT's.
Amusing Injuries: In episode 8, two girls get hit on the head trying to catch a ball Hayami hits in a baseball game. Tanabe, the first one, gets knocked out, and Yumi, the second girl, fakes being passed out so she could spend some time alone with him in the nurse's office.
Apologizes a Lot: Hayami tends to do this. When he first talks to Mai, his constant apologies to her angers her a little, which she points out. He immediately apologizes again.
Festival Episode: Subverted in episode 5. The 5121st Platoon prepares for a puppet show, and even spends a lot of time doing it, but just as the show starts, the Phantom Beasts attack.
Its subverted again in episode 10, this time while preparing a play. However, this time around they manage to film it during rehearsal, and the video/narration is played while the 5121st is out fighting. Unlike the first time around, the kids really enjoy it.
My God, What Have I Done?: When Hayami watches the interview he and Mai gave while shopping on Christmas Eve in episode 11, it suddenly dawns on him that she really likes him. Unfortunately, the night before, he stupidly brings up the subject of the guy who died in her previous school, which motivated her to become a soldier in the first place, causing her to get uncomfortable and leave.
No One Gets Left Behind: The 5121st Platoon does this for Hayami and Mai in episode 7. Hayami himself does this for Mia, refusing to leave her behind despite her broken leg and their increasing lack of air filters.
Real Robot Genre: The HWT's are just as vulnerable as other troops deployed in battle.
Relationship Upgrade: After a lot of false starts, Hayami and Mai do this at the very end of episode 12.
Rescue Romance: While it takes a while, Mai gradually warms up to Hayami after he saves her when their HWT is heavily damaged. Bonus points for managing to do it on foot in heavily infested Genjyu territory, and telling her No One Gets Left Behind despite her injuries.
Shipper on Deck: Practically all of the 5121st Platoon does this for Hayami and Mai, especially in episode 11.
The Stoic: Hayami utilizes this in episode 7 while trapped behind enemy lines. Instead of thinking about rage and hate, he recites a fairy tale to remain calm, then tells Mai later how stories went around with monks who survived going through Genjyu held areas with nothing more than a prayer and a gas mask. In one scene, Mai's nightmare causes her to be filled with rage, and makes the aliens hostile to them. He theorizes that the Genjyu attack if a person is filled with hatred and rage.
Tsundere: Mai, Type A, is cold and hostile towards almost everyone, especially Hayami.
We Hardly Knew Ye: Mibuya, who doesn't get a lot of screen time, then gets killed in the 6th episode.
Wham Episode: Episode 5, when Mibuya gets killed. Made worse by the fact that as the newscaster lists the names and ages of all those killed in that battle, her name isn't listed first, and she's just one of many who perished.
In episode 11, Mai is given an offer to join another unit.
Wrench Wench: Several of the girls, such as Matsuri, perform maintenance on the HWT's.